UH gears up to hold classes online if needed

Coronavirus

At the University of Hawaii, faculty and students are preparing for the possibility they’ll have to finish out the semester online.

A spokesman says UH will be ready to do it, if it becomes necessary.

Spring Break starts next week, and spokesman Dan Meisenzahl says it couldn’t have come at a better time. Because even though faculty and staff have been preparing to go online, there are still more details that need to be ironed out.

There are some 50,000 students who attend the 10 campuses at the university. Meisenzahl says many classes are already online. But to have a vast majority of them done online, it will take some coordination and cooperation from students and faculty.

“There are all these things that are happening on campus to prepare our faculty of the possibility of having to move to online courses. There’s gonna be some bumps on the road for sure and there’s gonna be challenges. It’s gonna be a case by case basis,” he said.

He points out that there are certain classes that would be difficult to be done online.

“If you have a Biology lab, is that something you do online? Probably not, as opposed to another type of course, so we’re gonna have to deal with those situations as they come up,” said Meisenzahl.

“Yeah, I think it’s a good thing that UH is not having us come and if they do put us all online, then I think it will be better, it will be safer for us,” said student Kuualoha Pauole Lau.

No matter what happens, Meisenzahl adds that campuses will never be fully closed. Some students will still need access to get some of the services and there’s also the possibility that some students don’t have internet access. He says there are still details that need to be worked out.

“Who can telecommute? Who has to be on campus and those types of things those are the types of things are those things that we’re addressing now,” said Meisenzahl.

As far as when the university might go with strictly online classes, that will be a decision made with other state agencies like the health department and in conjunction with the CDC.

With Spring Break coming up, UH has also issued a travel advisory to students and staff. Faculty and staff traveling to what’s known as Level 3 countries: China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy must report travel to their supervisor. Students are asked to notify the student affairs office.

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